“I think there are some holes in your story, mi amigo,” the Gila Monster Said.
“Simón!” Said the Field Mouse in a little voice from atop the Javelina’s broken skull. “If the brujita really did erase your memory, then how are you able to tell the tale to us now, cabrón?”
“Who? Me?” Said the sleepy Mountain Goat who had dozed off toward the end of my story.
“No, I didn’t mean that type of cabrón, Cabrón,” said the Field Mouse, chucking a small pebble at the Mountain Goat, who had already nestled down to sleep again.
“And you left the part out where you fuck the whores!” The Javelina said, stamping his hooves and digging his tusks into the ground to kick up dirt.
The small voice of the Field Mouse cried out “¡órale pendejo, watch what it is that you are doing!” as he clung to the Javelina for dear life. Or death. I mean death since they were all already dead. He hung onto his fur for dear death.
“…But I didn’t fuck any whores?” I said.
“I know, I know, estúpido!” said the little desert warthog after his tantrum was over. “But you are the storyteller chamaco, el narrador. You’re supposed to give your audience what it wants! In 2004 a Ford Bronco ran me over as I was crossing the freeway while I was on the run from hunters! IT CUT ME IN HALF, taking my dick along with it. So, the least you could do would be to give this little dickless fantasma that I am something nice to think about. Like putas!”
And my whole audience (which had quadrupled in size since I started telling the tale) cheered out “putas, putas, putas!” louder than before. I looked at them, (the Javelina and the Field Mouse, the Gila Monster sitting on his rock, the Mountain Goat already fast asleep, the three rattlesnakes, the Burrowing Owl, the Desert Toad, the Roadrunner, the Vulture sitting on a saguaro behind me, the Raven waddling around, the Jackalope, a large Poodle that must have died in a family car accident) and I saw their dead eyes reflecting the green light from the bonfire above my head back at me.
The flame was larger than it had ever been before, and it radiated so much heat that I had to take my shirt off halfway trough the story. I really got into it for them as I told them about the witch, the red castle, the asking stone, the priest, and the Big Green Eyes. I even performed separate voices for each character and danced around the crowd as I spun my yarn. I gave it everything I had, so I really didn’t appreciate how fucking choosy they were acting now.
“But why?!” I asked. “You can’t tell me you’re all attracted to humans, are you?”
“Don’t be stupid, now” the Jackalope said in his cowboy drawl, “just leave them thar details vague ‘nuff and I can picture m’self pushing up against some quick little bunny or a bushy-tailed bambi.”
“¡Simón!” the horny little mouse squeaked out. “Vague details. Leave room pa’ mi imaginación!”
No stories in the land of the dead. That’s what the Coyote had told me, so it made sense why so many roadkill ghosts had crawled through that bloody puddle to warm up under my flame and hear a cuentito or two. But no stories means no stories. Not even erotica. And so it occurred to me that these roadkill spirits were asking me to be their pornhub, their xvideos, their chatterbate. And I’ve never felt a stranger feeling in my life.
I tried to calm my horny crowd of undead rabble down, but it was no use. They wanted whores, and they would get them. But the Coyote stood up from on top of Franz where he was sitting, and the riff-raff fell in immediate and silent obedience to their king. Then, he let out a howl up to the full moon and I felt my flame grow even larger with his magic war cry. I saw the faces of a hundred terrified little spirits reflected back to me in green light.
“How many times do I have to tell you worthless, ungrateful pups?!” And he hopped down from the car to walk among them, growling and glowering and baring his teeth and his yellow eyes. “That there are no stories in the land of the dead! So we must hear the story the way he wishes to tell it. “Para buen hambre, no hay pan duro, y algo es algo para el calvo,” and then he started to laugh.
The crowd laughed nervously along with him, but soon the tension left the air and the raucous goup was making more noise than ever. That is, until the Poodle got a little too comfortable and started to hump the Coyote. The Coyote let out a wolfgrowl and the laughter stopped and the dog tried to back away but it was too late. The Coyote had already begun to rip his face apart, making quick work of his feeble legs and ribs after that, thrashing the body this way and that in the red dirt and not a soul tried to stop him. After a few seconds, the Coyote severed the dog's head and threw it at my feet. On its neck, I could see a nametag that read“Frisky” with an address for some house in Boulder, Colorado.
“Gracias pa’ la cuenta, nuestra narrador. Here is a little payment for your troubles, storyteller,” he said, rolling the head closer to me. Every inch of him was covered in blood and he looked like a shadow with yellow eyes.
I stood there, staring at the subjects of the roadkill kingdom, wondering if I would accept the gift from their king. I bent over to pick up the head of the poodle and said “Thank you?” but then I dropped it and screamed when the head started to laugh and yip uncontrolably, and it didn’t stop laughing as it rolled all the way back to the pile of poodle parts. In my fright, I had fallen to ground, and I sat there as I watched the mangled poodle slowly stitch his body back together. The animal horde began to laugh at me, howling and squeaking and clawing at the dirt.
“The look on your face!” Said the coyote as he rolled on his back and slapped his belly “Aye COJONES, the look on your face Fuegtio,” he said, wiping tears and blood from his yellow eyes.
When the laughter finally died down, so did my flame, which I shrunk to the size of a match so as not to burn the roof of my car. I put my shirt back on as the spirits thanked me one by one and wished me buena suerte on my journey before they jumped back into the blood-puddle to the land of the dead. The Coyote went last and he gave me his blessing. He said that he would send a message down the highways and roads to all the roadkill spirits that they were “under no circumstances” to crash into my car, which is something they apparently love to do. But before he jumped into the puddle himself, he said one more thing to me.
“You were strong enough to escape the priest, but Padre Serra was just the beginning…”
“What do you mean?”
“Beware the Bishop, Fuegito. Beware the ghost of Diego de Landa.”
And then he jumped into the puddle, leaving me alone with the desert, the road, and the moon.